Failure is an event, never a person.
~William D. Brown
Nothing seems to qualify me to pen lines on this page except failures; yes you read me right, blatant, rip roaring, humbling failures. I am the failed Journeyman.
If you are looking for a frustrated job seeker, a battered and hammered interviewee, a disenchanted office worker, a prayer warrior with special bias to career minded, job seeking mountain moving prayers and so on and so pitifully, you are reading the right lines.
But do not get me wrong, I am not here to shop for pity, I am not crying out these lines to seek for comforting hands, but something tells me if you can take my work worn, disappointment-ridden hand we could navigate this land mine infested island that leads to that Google career (if you know what I mean).
For reasons I myself do not understand I refuse to tell you exactly how many job interviews I lumbered to the past year but I can assure you the number far exceeded a standard football team but not up to a standard rugby team. So make up the numbers in your head. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, I would say I am still expecting that life changing call from one of them. But while deceiving myself on one hand that maybe I would get at least one positive call, I have been doing some soul searching, some inner musings, some consultations and investigations aplenty on the other reasonable hand, as to why it seems I am now in an eternal lockdown, shackled hopelessly in the job seeking penitentiary. I have not struck gold but…
Yesterday, just this yesterday I went to… I’ll skip the name of the boutique (I’m not running any cheap advert for anybody) but it was somewhere on the island and I drained my bank account to near red by loading my shopping basket with smart suits, smart shirts, smart shoes, deodorants, perfumes… because I realized ( that was a lie) someone told me actually, my dressing and dress sense put together was so appalling only a circus or a night of a thousand laughs producer would give a job to me dressed like an emergency Charlie Chaplin.
Little wonder I always get this queer, ‘what the hell are you doing here’ look any time I step in to take my seat for an interview. I’ve got the clothes now but I’m still shopping for the dress sense. Feel free to send in help notes. Lesson: Your dressing opens its loud mouth and speaks for you before you speak for yourself. Don’t make it speak junk.
I know I talk too much, I joke too much, I feel over friendly even to strangers and that silly attitude I take to all my interviews. Even before sitting down, I am already smiling like Mr. Bean at the interview panel hoping they will like me. I remember one where I hit a friendly chord on classical music with one of the members of the interview panel and my tongue was let loose rolling out Beethoven, Wagner, Elgar, Chopin, Bach and rounding off the silly session with Handel’s messiah. The guy was impressed but the others were disgusted. They never called me back. Lesson 2: Please friends, be pleasant, be warm, but keep interview banter professional. Got it?
Prayer is good but it is one of my many failings. I fast and pray more than I read and research before my interviews. Proper Naija boy I believe too much in mouth watering miracles. But after my catalogue of failures despite many prophecies from here and there predicting a mind bending job offer coming my way, I am now wiser. Get me right, I am not saying no to prayers but also make sure you read, research and know more about the company you are gunning for even more than the HR folks. I think that is Lesson 3.
Once upon a time, I was a peacock. A well fed, just out of university, rainbow coloured peacock; proud and arrogantly naughty by nature. I will saunter into interview venues as if my great grandfather was John D. Rockefeller, my grandfather was Albert Einstein and my father owned the Burj Khalifa. I was proud; flippant and full of puerile airs. I always knew (so I thought) the right answers, but after a litany of resounding rejections I have swallowed my pride like a poodle’s vomit. I have tossed arrogance into the bin and I’m learning (note) learning respect, not just for the interviewers but also for fellow interviewees. Lesson 4: Arrogance is like stale perfume; effuses strongly, appals terribly.
Nerves, nerves, nerves. As arrogance slowly gave way, unreasonable jitters followed. Before interviews, I am always a bundle of failed nerves. Though I try to hide it behind a veneer of plastic smiles and effusive camaraderie, I am absolutely sweating inside. It became more pronounced as my list of failed interviews grew alarmingly. Now I am trying to find that middle ground between arrogance, confidence and nervousness. No be small ting! That didn’t sound like a lesson but I think it’s worth mentioning.
And please, please and please. If you are asked if you have any questions by the interviewer and you know deep within you have nothing reasonable to say, please do not just open your mouth.
I have committed so many oral suicides at interviews because of this ‘I must say something syndrome’. I remember asking why an elderly interviewer didn’t wear her ring. Was it part of company policy? The other members of the panel virtually shrank into in their chairs. I learnt later she had just gone through a terrible divorce. Do I need to tell you I didn’t get the job? Lesson 5: go back to first paragraph.
Before I begin to bore you with my catalogue of gaffes, that’s if I haven’t already, I will gladly take my leave, I hope you will pick a thing or two from my unfortunate situations (if anything is worth picking anyway). Crucify me in you mind if you like at least I’m a shade better than that bloke (I won’t mention his name) who smelt both armpits and made a face as he entered the interview room or my friend’s girlfriend whose phone rang as she was answering a question on things she dislikes. The ring tone caught her saying, “I dislike disturbances”, her ring tone- You bad, you want it, you bad, you know you want it cos you bad… Do not laugh ‘cos its not funny, she lost the job because of that. So, see you next time as we run again through my many failures on this my rugged, ragged journey to that job!
I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. ~Thomas Edison
Photo Credit: istockphoto
Bode Asiyanbi, an award winning writer works with a leading financial institution in Nigeria.